With the Pixel Watch, Google constructed a powerful basis for what might very properly develop into the perfect Android smartwatch. Its smooth design and suite of Fitbit well being monitoring options earned it a CNET Editors’ Selection Award.
However at its core, the Pixel Watch nonetheless largely seems like a solution to the Apple Watch and different in style smartwatches. It meets, and in some methods surpasses, expectations for a smartwatch of its worth. But it would not essentially do a lot to push the smartwatch trade ahead, nor does it overwhelmingly persuade you to facet with the Pixel over a less expensive Samsung or Fitbit watch.
The Pixel Watch is basically Fitbit software program wrapped in a extra engaging, Google-designed package deal. In 2023, I need to see the Pixel Watch tackle an id of its personal. That is crucial for Google now that ancillary devices like watches and earbuds are an even bigger a part of Android’s future course.
Google ought to imitate its Pixel cellphone technique
There are many issues the Pixel Watch will get proper, from its elegant curved edges to its easy-to-use software program and complete train monitoring. However for the wearable to essentially stand out, Google ought to take a web page from its Pixel cellphone playbook.
As I’ve written up to now, I might wish to see Google develop intelligent options for the Pixel Watch that clear up actual inconveniences. Pixel telephones, for instance, have cellphone calling instruments for letting Google’s digital assistant wait on maintain for you. In addition they have attention-grabbing picture modifying options, like the power to sharpen previous pictures which may be out of focus. Google is clearly concentrating on two of essentially the most primary duties individuals use their telephones for: making calls and taking pictures. It is these options mixed with the Pixel’s nice digital camera that make it stand out.
However Google has already launched seven generations of its Pixel telephones, that means it is had time to refine its method and determine what works. The unique Pixel from 2016 was a skeleton of as we speak’s gadgets; it had the bones of as we speak’s Pixels, like a pointy design that rivaled that of the iPhone, a standout digital camera and the Google Assistant. But it surely took years for Google to flesh out its Pixel cellphone technique. The case will doubtless be the identical for the Pixel Watch.
It is onerous to say precisely what that may seem like. Health and well being appear to be the largest areas by which as we speak’s smartwatches are rising and enhancing throughout the trade. Google’s progress in these fields will largely come right down to Fitbit, which pioneered the digital well being motion however now faces elevated competitors from Apple. That rivalry is prone to escalate within the coming years contemplating Apple is reportedly engaged on new well being options, together with an AI-powered wellness coach, temper monitoring instruments and blood stress monitoring.
Well being monitoring apart, I might wish to see further options that make the Pixel Watch a extra essential a part of the Android ecosystem. Given Google’s progress with the Google Assistant, I had hoped Google’s digital helper would play an even bigger position within the Pixel Watch. Sure, you are able to do all the essential belongings you’d count on, like make calls, begin timers, play music and management sensible dwelling gadgets together with your voice.
However I might wish to see new options that really feel extra particular to the Pixel Watch. Since smartwatches aren’t perfect for lengthy touchscreen interactions, there is a huge alternative for Google to make use of the Google Assistant to floor contextual info in new methods. Hopefully we’ll see extra of that sooner or later as Google deepens its Artificial Intelligence push.
The Pixel Watch’s rising pains
Whereas Google figures out the Pixel Watch’s long-term course, there are a number of near-term fixes it might make to push the Pixel Watch ahead.
Longer battery life is on the prime of my record. To be honest, Google is not alone on this regard; Apple’s and Samsung’s respective flagship smartwatches usually final just one to 2 days on a single cost. This can be passable when you plan on charging your watch in a single day, but it surely makes it tough to recurrently monitor sleep.
Although I’ve praised the Pixel Watch’s smooth, pebble-like design, its black bezel remains to be too noticeable on sure backgrounds — significantly colourful ones just like the Images watch face. This will distract from the Pixel Watch’s in any other case stellar design.
For its worth, the Pixel Watch must also provide all the identical well being options because the Fitbit Sense 2. In contrast with the Sense 2, the Pixel Watch lacks alerts for an irregular coronary heart charge, notifications for top and low coronary heart charge, and temperature-sensing. The Pixel Watch can also’t mechanically detect and begin a exercise in your wrist.
I perceive that Google must make some compromises to differentiate the Sense 2 from the Pixel Watch. However Google already does that properly sufficient with the Pixel Watch’s extra premium design and extra smartphone companion options, equivalent to its Google Play Retailer help.
Relating to the buyer electronics market, Google is in a novel place. It has to steadiness differentiating its personal Pixel merchandise with enhancing your complete Android ecosystem — together with Android devices made by corporations it competes with, like Samsung. Google is preventing two battles: Android versus iPhone, and Pixel versus everybody else. And generally that exhibits in its merchandise.